Technologists and Creatives – Left and Right Brain Marketing

Marketing requires creative and analytical minds

Although the myth of the left and right sides of the brain controlling logical and creative thinking has seemingly been debunked, the concept still serves as a useful metaphor for the difference between creative and technical thinkers.

Much has been written about the importance of balancing the roles of the creatives and marketing technologists. I even wrote about it earlier this year.

Two Goals for Every Campaign

Today each and every marketing campaign and program should have two goals.

Primary Campaign Goal

The short-term campaign objectives. The goals need to be tied to measurable objectives.

Continuous Improvement

Collect performance data that allows subsequent campaigns to be improved.

While the short-term goal is important, over the long-term the lessons learned from each campaign allow your marketing efforts to continuously improve. This can result in vast improvements in your marketing performance over time.

Most campaigns and marketing programs implemented today have multiple online and maybe offline components. The performance of each channel, and the overall campaign, can be measured. Even the most basic lead generation direct mail campaign, with a goal of capturing engaged email addresses,  will have numerous measurement opportunities:

  • Direct mail response rate, measured by landing page views
  • Landing page call to action conversion rate, capturing an email address
  • Opt-in email confirmation click-through rate

The performance at each step of the campaign can be tested and measured, allowing each step to be improved on subsequent campaigns.

40-40-20 Rule

The 40-40-20 rule was developed in the 1960’s by Ed Mayer, who is frequently cited as the “father of direct marketing”. Mayer postulated that campaign success is determined by:

  • 40% audience (the list)
  • 40% offer
  • 20% creative

The 40/40/20 rule suggests that the audience and offer are more important than creative.

The 40/40/20 rule is not absolute. I’ve understandably never met a creative director or art director that completely agrees with it. It is true that the best creative can not overcome a lousy offer or the wrong audience, and a campaign that has a great offer and the right target audience will fall flat with bad creative. But “OK” creative can lead to a successful, albeit not optimal, campaign when a strong offer is sent to the right audience.

Selecting the right audience has always been a somewhat technical, “left brain,” process. But the technical aspects of marketing are more important today than ever before. Some have even proposed adding “technology” to Ed Mayer’s venerable equation and changing it to the 25-25-25-25 rule. (I might make it 30-30-20-20, with tech and creative being an equal 20, but I digress). However you decide to slice it, the truth is that each component – audience, offer, creative, and technology – is important.

The Technical Aspects of Marketing

Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.

– H. James Harrington

The technical aspects of setting up marketing campaigns and programs include:

  1. Implementing campaign logic that utilizes personal 1:1 marketing data across multiple channels.
  2. Implementing the HTML and CSS code required for landing pages and emails.
  3. Designing the measurement process. This likely includes a combination of Google Analytics, social media engagement, and email or marketing automation metrics. For offline campaign components use friendly URLs and Google Analytics link tagging to track performance.
  4. Analyzing the campaign results for the overall campaign and each component.

The marketing technologists allow the creative concepts to be implemented and the campaign to be analyzed, allowing marketing to prove it’s effectiveness as well as continually improve marketing processes.

The Two Brains of Marketing

The right, creative brain and the left, analytical brain are both critical to marketing success.

Marketing today requires the creative mind just as much as it always has. What has changed with online marketing is the importance of the marketing technologist.

When designing a new marketing campaign or an ongoing marketing program, it is critical to bring technology considerations into the earliest stages to help with the campaign strategy.

Specifically, the technologist needs to plan:

  1. How personalization and tracking follows each customer journey through each campaign and their entire customer journey. 
  2. How to measure the performance of each step.

The online campaign components can then be implemented to the creative specs, and campaign performance can be measured during and after the campaign.

Indicators That You Should Improve Your Marketing Technologies


  • You can’t report how effective your marketing efforts are.
  • You don’t have data that allows marketing continuous improvement.
  • The objective of most of your marketing campaigns are nebulous things like brand awareness, not specific goals tied to lead generation or increased revenue.

Moderno Strategies mission is to make modern marketing technologies available to companies of all sizes and all marketing budgets. If you feel you need to improve your use of marketing technology, please contact us for an immediate discussion or sign up for our newsletter for ongoing information.